California's crucial role in presidential race
SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) - California voters who usually are courted for their cash campaign contributions will likely be courted by the presidential candidates, as the unusual primary season presents a new scenario.
It appears that neither Republican Donald Trump nor Democrat Hillary Clinton will be able to clinch the nomination before California's primary on June seventh.
That means California voters who typically vote too late in the season to have an impact on primary campaigns, could be critical to crowning the nominees.
Democrat Hillary Clinton still leads the delegate count with pledged 1,280 delegates won compared to Bernie Sanders' 1,030. Those numbers do not include Clinton's 469 “superdelegates” and Sanders' 31 “superdelegates” who are able to change their allegiances.
Republican Donald Trump leads the Republican race with 743 delegates, compared to 517 for Ted Cruz and 143 for John Kasich.
A source tells KTVU that Ted Cruz is planning to open a Bay Area headquarters and is scouting for possible locations. Cruz has accepted an invitation to speak at the California Republican Convention in Burlingame which runs from April 29 - May 1st.
John Kasich also has accepted an invitation to speak at the convention.
Trump was invited but has not yet replied. The current frontrunner is planning an appearance in Southern California later in the week.
"We're going to see some candidates going to some places they probably weren't expecting to have to show up," said Harmeet Dhillon, the California Republican Party Vice-Chair
Dhillon Says winning the state's 172 delegates will require an all-out ground game.
"It's all is it's not winner-take-all statewide or even proportional. It's fifty-three separate elections," Dhillon said.
That's because the fifty-three congressional districts each award three delegates to the winner of each district. It's a system which make some votes count more than others according to political communications analyst Randy Shandobil, founder of Shandobil Communications.
"This year California Republican voters in the Bay Area...their votes will count 6-7 times more than Republicans in the Central Valley," Shandobil said.
He says one example is Barbara Lee's congressional district in Oakland and Berkeley.
"There are about 27,000 Republican voters...there is a Republican congressional district in the central Sierra which has about 180,000 Republican voters," Shandobil said.
That means vying for voters such as San Francisco Republican donor Nick Schrock. Schrock says he had supported Marco Rubio and held a fundraiser for Rubio before he left the race.
Now, he'll be among those courted in California.
"It's fun to be part of the process now instead of a decorative primary for sure," Schrock said.
But in a presidential primary year which already has proven to be unpredictable, Schrock is an example of the challenges all candidates are facing.
"If Trump is the nominee I will vote for Hillary Clinton," Schrock said, pausing for a moment with a wry smile, "God help me."